My New Crockery

Last week I’ve been away to London for work and this meant I’m a little behind with new recipes. You can imagine how frustrating it is to have so many ideas, but not time to do them. Anyway, hopefully, I’ll be back on my regular schedule of two recipes each week. As I bought quite a few new plates and cups, I thought it would be nice to share my new crockery on the blog as a quick update.

My New Crockery

My husband thinks I bought a lot, I can’t, obviously, agree with his assessment. I’ve pondered if I should get this item or that item. I’m going to talk a bit about each item, in the order I got them.
I’m not too knowledgeable when it comes to ceramics, but now I can recognize the materials and some of the techniques after I saw last year a TV show called The Great Pottery Throw Down. I loved that series, it was so interesting.

Laura De Benedetti Ceramics

First of all, I got this amazing set made by the very talented Laura De Benedetti. I’ve met her this week in London and she is wonderful. I think the items she is making are stunning. The cup has such a lovely feel to it, it feels like it’s flowing, I love the colours too. I can’t wait to use the cup. The cup is made of porcelain.
You can see more of her work on her website, ldbceramics.

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My Spices

Today’s post will be different, I’m going to talk about my spices. I like to use all sort of spices, this way, even a dish I’ve made before can be more exciting and new by adding different spices.

my spices. shelves filled with spices

These are the shelves with the spices on display. There are 45 jars of spices. Some of them are empty because I’ve run out of that particular spice. I often have to buy spices as I do use quite a lot when I’m cooking.
I’ve tried to place them in categories: herbs, roots. It’s easier to pick the ones I need, when I’m in the middle of stirring in the pan.

My favourite spice must be ground cardamon. I use it in risotto’s, especially for the vegan ones. I would use it in desserts too. It’s a very versatile spice.

Next one is cumin. I like adding lots of cumin when I’m making houmous. If I have shop-bought houmous I will sprinkle cumin and sumac on top. Sumac is the next on the list of my favourite spices.
Some of the spices end up in smoothies too, it’s a very nice way to add more flavour and a healthy kick to the morning drink.

The ones that I use the most are the herbs, obviously. Usually Italian herbs, as these are the ones my husband prefers. Two of the jars are now empty and I’m going to change what I have in them. The Pizza & Tomato jars had tomato spice. I bought it from a cooking show and it wasn’t as nice as I would have liked. So, now I’m going to change those jars with Chives and Curry leaves. I have the spices in the cupboards, I just need new labels for the jars.

Having all the spices on the shelves made my life easier. I can easily pick the ones I want to use, without having to search for them in the cupboards. Also, I can think of spice combinations better like that instead of trying to remember all the spices I have. Another great thing is that I can use them as props in photographs because they all look the same.

Recently I talked about the superfoods I’m using on my lifestyle blog.

Bosch MUM4807GB Stand Mixer review

I bought a Bosch MUM4807GB Stand Mixer 6 months ago and I’ve been using it quite often. This is why I thought I should talk about it on my blog. The main reason I got the mixer was to knead small batches of dough for bread. It has more features, but I will talk about the things I’ve used it.

 Bosch MUM4807GB Stand Mixer review

The stand mixer is small and it’s easy to store without a lot of hassle. It comes with a stainless steel, 3.9l mixing bowl and 3 attachments: whisk attachment, dough hook, flexible beater tool. It’s powerful too, at 600 watts. These were the main reasons I got it. Also, it’s very affordable, its price varies between £70 to £90.

Even though the main reason to get it was to knead bread dough, as I said earlier, I made other things with it too, like whipped cream and cake batter. It works out great. The only negative I have is that the bowl is thin and it can be uncomfortable as it presses on the hands when I take out the thick dough. It’s not an issue with batter and cream, obviously.
Another small negative is that if you raise the beater when it is facing forward, it catches on the front edge of the bowl. I don’t actually mind that, as I take the beater out gently, so it’s not an issue for me.

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How to cook Kalettes

I found these new veggies at Lidl called Kalettes and I had to try them. After trying a few recipes with them, I’ve decided to make a post on how to cook Kalettes. First of all, let’s talk about Kalettes. They are a new vegetable obtained by crossing kale with brussels sprouts with traditional hybridization. It took 15 years to make them and I’m happy someone did. They taste great. I love brussels sprouts and kale, but my husband doesn’t like the sprouts, he will eat them because they are healthy and that’s it. So, they might be a hit even with people that don’t like brussels sprouts.

01 How to cook Kalettes

They are easy to prepare and cook, it takes a few minutes and that is another great thing if you want to make them for dinner and you are in a hurry. When it comes to how to cook Kalettes, there are a few ways to prepare them: raw, roasted or blanched and used in stir fry.

If eaten raw, they taste like salad, cut the end of the stem and wash them. Put them in a colander and shake to remove the excess water. It’s that simple.
If you want to roast them, cut the stems, wash them. As before, leave the kalettes in the colander to remove the excess water. Put them in a bag, add spices and 2 spoons of oil. Close the bag and shake, this way they will be coated with the oil. Put them in a roasting pan and roast them for 10 minutes at high heat, in the preheated oven.

02 How to cook Kalettes

If, instead you want to blanch them, it’s easy too. Wash and cut the stems, as before. Leave them in the colander. Meanwhile, put a saucepan with water on high heat and bring it to boil. When the water is boiling, toss in the kalettes and reduce the heat to medium and leave them to boil for 3-4 minutes.
In a large bowl, add ice cubes and cold water. For 2 bags of kalettes, which is for 4 servings, I used 12 ice cubes. When the kalettes are boiled, drain them and put them in the cold water. Leave to cool down, a couple of minutes. Drain and the kalettes are ready to be stir-fried. Check the next 2 recipes that will follow in the next couple of days.

Cheese plate with biscuits from Stag Bakeries

My husband and I love cheese. Sometimes I would prepare a cheese plate with a glass of wine instead of dinner, especially after a very consistent lunch. For those occasions, having some nice oatcakes and water biscuits to go with the cheese is a must. I received these Stag Bakeries Seaweed oatcakes, Seaweed water biscuits and cheese straws to review and we both were delighted with them.

01 Stag bakeries seaweed oatcakes seaweed water biscuits and cheese straws

Stag Bakeries is an old traditional Scottish bakery located in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis on the Scottish Outer Hebrides and dating back to 1885. This is usually enough for me to want to try the product. Stag is a family-run business and they produce bread and cakes for local customers and biscuits for the rest of the world. The recipes they use today are developed with traditional methods.

Stag bakeries seaweed oatcakes seaweed water biscuits and cheese straws

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Opies

I love trying new ingredients, so I was delighted when I was sent a few samples from Opies to try.

01-opies

Opies is a family-run business started in 1880. They are producing foods in the same location in Kent since 1929. Their range is very interesting and most of their products can be found in local supermarkets.

02-opies

Opies Fujan Christmas Fruits with Courvoisier. The fruits are amazing. It’s a mixture of Figs, Apricots, Dates, Cranberries, Raisins and Sultanas. Other ingredients are sugar, water, citric acid and, obviously Courvoisier. I think this is perfect for Christmas, it’s lush and the flavour is amazing. Every single dried fruit has kept its flavour. I loved it. This is available at Waitrose and I might add it to the Christmas shopping list. I love boozy chocolates, but it’s the first time I try boozy fruits. I think they are delicious, with a little bit of unsweetened whipped cream on top, it’s the perfect dessert.

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Jamie’s Italian Olive Oil Buyer’s Guide

I like reading about ingredients as much as I like experimenting with new ones. I was delighted to see the Olive Oil Buyer’s Guide*, it’s very interesting. The Infographic was created by Jamie’s Italian (link to one restaurant). I’ve been to the one in Liverpool and it was a lovely experience.

Going back to the Olive Oil, I have to admit I had no idea there is light olive oil. I like olive oil and I used it many times, usually I add it raw on salads, on soup before serving, lots and lots over a big dish of houmous or breads. I usually buy extra virgin olive oil. After reading this info-graphic I am thinking I should buy light olive oil too, for cooking.

I will also do a taste-test like it’s mentioned here. It sounds interesting and it’s something I never tried before. I might do that with all the oils I have in the cupboard and chose the right one for the dish. I am really excited to try this oil taste-test.

jamies-italian-olive-oil-buyers-guide_57320f2dda035_w1500

Do you cook with olive oil? Which type of oil do you use?

* Post in collaboration.